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20 Years, 20 Head Kicks: A UFC Anniversary Tribute


(Gerard Gordeau delivers the first head-kick TKO in UFC history against Teila Tuli back at UFC 1, which took place exactly 20 years today on November 12th, 1993.)

By Adam Martin

There are literally thousands of ways a mixed martial arts match can end, but one of the most thrilling methods is the head kick knockout.

Over the course of two decades of fights in the UFC Octagon, there have been a number of memorable knockout blows delivered via head kick, and in honor of the UFC’s 20th anniversary, I’ve put together a list of what I believe are the top 20 head kick knockouts in UFC history.

20 years, 20 head kicks. Here we go.

20. Uriah Hall vs. Adam Cella, TUF 17 episode 3 (aired 2/5/13)

I wanted to keep the list strictly to knockouts that happened during live UFC events, but I’m going to bend the rules a bit and kick off the list with one that happened on TUF.

Of course I’m talking about Uriah Hall’s spinning hook kick KO of Adam Cella, which took place earlier this year during TUF 17. It was a devastating knockout that made UFC president Dana White’s hyperbole raise to a whole new level as he declared Hall the nastiest fighter to ever step into the TUF house (the same house that produced Rashad Evans and Forrest Griffin – you know, former UFC champs), and thus the UFC embarked on a social media campaign to play the clip non-stop on every medium in existence.

It was a brutal knockout, and I literally felt sick watching it. Even though Hall never lived up to the massive expectations that were placed on him, his most well-known career highlight deserves a place at #20.

19. Pat Miletich vs. Shonie Carter, UFC 32 (6/29/01)

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27 Ways to Know You’re Part of the MMA Media


(The MMA media in a nutshell, except replace Jade Bryce with Dana White and Eric Holden with any credentialed “journalist” in the business. / Photo via Examiner.com)

By the CagePotato.com staff

The MMA media is a diverse bunch, ranging from actual professionals to despicable bottom-feeders like us. However, there are trials and tribulations that we can all relate to, and which ultimately unite us. For example…

1. You’ve been called a Zuffa shill whenever you say something positive about the UFC.

2. You’ve been called an anti-Zuffa hack whenever you say anything negative about the UFC.

3. You complain about all the free UFC events you have to watch on cable.

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From Facepalm to Faceplant: The 8 Most Brutal Self-Inflicted Knockouts in MMA History


(“Accepts trilogy-completing title fight with biggest rival, points out where he will faceplant later.” Photo via Getty.) 

Although the fight records officially list Cain Velasquez‘s 5th round TKO of Junior Dos Santos at UFC 166 as coming by way of “Slam and Punch,” the credit should rightfully be given to Dos Santos for executing a picture perfect ninja-choke-into-faceplant KO. It was truly the most spectacular self-destruct sequence ever carried out in the octagon, and one that got us thinking: What are the Most Brutal Self-Inflicted KO’s in MMA History? 

Matt Lindland will be discussed at some point in this article.

Mark Kerr vs. Yoshihisa Yamamoto – PRIDE 27

As Ben previously noted, it’s a good thing that the 2002 Mark Kerr documentary, The Smashing Machine, ended when it did, because we wouldn’t have been able to sit through the tale of woe that Kerr’s career became from 2004 onward.

Following a pair of losses to Igor Vovchanchyn and Heath Herring at PRIDE 12 and 15, respectfully, Kerr would take a three year break from the sport before returning against Yoshihisa Yamamoto (who held a modest 13-16 record at the time) at PRIDE 27. Forty seconds into the fight, Kerr would knock himself out during a takedown attempt. He would walk away from PRIDE shortly thereafter and lose 7 out of his next 9 contests, all by first round stoppage.

This post has gotten off to an unexpectedly depressing start, but such is Mark Kerr. Let’s lighten things up a bit…

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The Top 24 Mixed Martial Artists Who Lost Their First Fight


(Renan Barao: Started from the bottom, now he here. / Photo via Getty)

By Adam Martin

At the UFC 165 post-fight presser last month, UFC president Dana White showered praise upon UFC interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao, calling him one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport and remarking that the media hadn’t given enough credit to his eight-year, 32-fight undefeated streak, which has remained pristine since May 2005.

Barao has only tasted defeat once, and it was in the first fight of his career. The fact that he’s rebounded with the longest current undefeated streak in mixed martial arts — despite the fact that his first loss could have ruined his confidence forever — is absolutely amazing to me, as many young would-be prospects have crashed and burned in their debuts, never to be heard of again.

It got me thinking: What other mixed martial artists lost their first fight but then went on to have great success? I expected to bang out a list of ten fighters, but once I started doing the research, it blew my mind that some of the best fighters to ever compete in the sport, and a number of currently top 10-ranked fighters, actually lost their very first fight.

And so, I compiled a list of the top 24 MMA fighters of all time who lost their first fight. The list is based on accomplishments in the sport, overall skill level, and potential. Enjoy, and if I somehow missed somebody notable, please leave a comment below and explain why he or she should be included.

Honorable mentions: Matt “The Wizard” Hume (5-5), Wesley “Cabbage” Correira (20-15), Ryan “The Big Deal” Jimmo (18-2), Rodrigo Damm (11-6), James Te Huna (16-6)

24. Travis “The Ironman” Fulton (249-49-10, 1 NC)

(Photo via ThunderPromotions)

On July 26, 1996, at the age of 19 years old, Travis Fulton fought Dave Strasser in his MMA debut at Gladiators 1 in Davenport, Iowa, losing the fight via first-round submission. He then went on to win 249 fights, the most wins in mixed martial arts history. Fulton also holds the record for most fights (309) and most knockout wins (91) in MMA history.

Mind = blown.

Was Fulton a can crusher? Yes, yes he was. Or, should I say, yes he is, as he beat some nobody in his native Iowa just this past March. But you don’t win 249 MMA fights by accident, and Fulton deserves a place on this list based on volume alone.

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The 10 Greatest Light Heavyweight Title Fights In UFC History


(Photo via Getty)

By Adam Martin

That might be the greatest title fight in the history of the light heavyweight division — and I don’t even know who won! What an incredible fight!

Those are the words UFC color-commentator Joe Rogan uttered last weekend at the end of the five-round epic at UFC 165 between UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and challenger Alexander Gustafsson, a fight Jones won via razor-thin unanimous decision.

Although Rogan is often known for his hyperbole, he might have been dead-on that night. Was “Bones” vs. “The Mauler” really the greatest 205-pound title fight in the history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship? To determine the veracity of that statement, I went back and watched the best light heavyweight fights ever held inside the Octagon, and after countless hours of tape study, I feel as though I’ve come up with a very fair list.

Below I’ve listed what in my opinion are the top 10 light heavyweight fights in UFC history based on a mixed criteria of competitiveness, excitement level, hype, how the fight played out in comparison to its expectations, and how it ended. So without any further ado, let’s get started…

10. Lyoto Machida vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua 1, UFC 104

(Photo via Getty)

Kicking off the list is the controversial first fight between Lyoto Machida and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, a fight that still ranks up there with the worst-all time judging decisions in MMA history.

Machida had just knocked out Rashad Evans at UFC 98 and, in the fateful words of Joe Rogan, the “Machida Era” had commenced. However, “Shogun” had a thing or two to say about that as the former PRIDE star was coming off of two TKO wins over Hall of Famers Chuck Liddell and Mark Coleman, and he wanted to prove to everyone it was he, not Machida, who was the best light heavyweight in the world at the time.

For five rounds, Machida and “Shogun” went toe-to-toe in the Octagon and although Machida definitely had his moments in the match, it appeared to most observers that there would be a new light heavyweight champion crowned, as Rua landed a ton of brutal leg kicks to Machida that left the champ’s torso and thighs looking like a bruised peach.

But while “Shogun” arguably won every round of the fight, the judges somehow saw the fight in favor of Machida, with all three scoring the bout 48-47 in favor of “The Dragon” despite the volume of leg kicks thrown by Rua, leading judge Cecil People to idiotically declare that leg kicks don’t finish fights. UFC president Dana White saw things differently, however, and set up an immediate rematch at UFC 113 where Rua KO’d Machida into oblivion — a happy ending to an infamous screwjob.

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Bellator’s Nine Hottest New Prospects for Season Nine


(Hey, if BJ Penn can be the UFC’s first three-title champion, then a middle-aged kickboxer can be the future of the heavyweight division. / Photo via crucifixusa.com)

By Adam Martin

Bellator’s ninth season recently commenced, and if last week’s opener is any indication, it’s going to be a fun and action-packed couple of months in the world of “Viacom MMA.”

During the summer, Bellator signed a number of new fighters that will make their promotional debuts during season nine, and we wanted to highlight a few of these hungry young prospects that fans should keep an eye on starting with tonight’s event in Temecula, California.

So, without further ado, here are nine Bellator prospects to watch out for during this coming season of fights.

9. John Alessio

(Photo via Getty)

The first fighter to keep an eye on this season is veteran John Alessio, who has been fighting professionally since 1998. After making his name as a top prospect fighting for SuperBrawl in Hawaii, the UFC fed Alessio to the sharks when, at just 20 years of age, he fought Pat Miletich for the UFC welterweight title. And while Alessio would get tapped out in just 1:43 and leave the UFC immediately afterwards, he returned in 2006 and fought both Diego Sanchez and Thiago Alves, losing to both and losing his spot on the roster again. Never perturbed, Alessio then carved out a solid run in the WEC, MFC, Dream, and a few other promotions to get yet another crack in the Octagon in 2012, but after losing to Mark Bocek and Shane Roller — becoming the only fighter in UFC history to go 0-5 — he was cut for good. Bellator then picked him up and he’s been installed as a participant in the season nine lightweight tournament. Winning it, he says, is his destiny.

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Four UFC PPV Main Events That Were Worse Than Rampage vs. Ortiz


(For ten years, Rampage has been haunted by the memory of that brutal photo-bombing. And on November 2nd, he’ll have his revenge. Bellator 106: Bitter Homeboys, only on pay-per-view.)

By Matt Saccaro

The announcement of Bellator’s inaugural pay-per-view was met with almost-universal criticism in the MMA world. And with good reason. Tito Ortiz vs. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson would have been a terrible main event in 2009, let alone 2013. But with the way people have been mocking it, you’d think that it was the first time a major MMA promotion had a bad fight main eventing a PPV.

This, of course, isn’t the case. The UFC has put on several PPVs whose main events rival Rampage-Ortiz in outright shittyness. For some reason, those PPVs didn’t draw the media’s collective derision like Rampage-Ortiz did. (It’s almost as if the mainstream MMA media is being coerced by some powerful, credential-wielding force…) But that’s OK; CagePotato is here to bring those terrible main events to justice.

So just what has the UFC given us to watch on Saturday nights that was as bad as the upcoming Rampage-Ortiz train wreck? Let’s have a look.

UFC 106: Tito Ortiz vs. Forrest Griffin II

Cracked skull vs. Xanax-laden stupor.

People might not agree with this pick, but Ortiz-Griffin II was an awful main event. By 2009, Ortiz wasn’t important enough to pay for — no matter who he was fighting. Going into the fight with Forrest Griffin, he was 1-2-1 in his last four fights, with his only win coming against Ken Shamrock in 2006. Tito’s best days were far behind him. In fact, he hadn’t beaten anyone NOT named Ken Shamrock since 2006 (and, coincidentally, it was Forrest Griffin who he beat).

Griffin, too, had whatever the opposite of “a head of steam” is going into UFC 106. Rashad Evans embarrassed him at UFC 92, taking the light heavyweight belt in the process. But what Evans did to him seemed tame compared to the legendary beat down that Anderson Silva bestowed on Griffin at UFC 101.

Put these ruts together and you get an overpriced PPV — $60 to watch two guys who would never be relevant again.

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MMA Stats: The Top 10 Latest Finishes in UFC History


(Photo via MMAFighting)

By Adam Martin

To me, the most impressive thing about Demetrious Johnson’s performance against John Moraga in the main event of UFC on FOX 8 last weekend was the fact that Johnson won the fight via fifth-round stoppage — only the fourth time in the history of the UFC that a match has ended in the fifth stanza.

The win also got me thinking: What are some of the other latest finishes in UFC history? Luckily, I did the work so you don’t have to. Here’s a list of the top 10 latest stoppages in UFC history since UFC 21, the first event to utilize the now-standard five-round, five-minute format for title fights.

(Note that since UFC 138 in 2011, many non-title fight main events have also been scheduled for five rounds, but only one such bout made this list.)

1. UFC on FOX 8: Demetrious Johnson def. John Moraga via submission (armbar), 3:43 of round five

Believe it or not, you were all witnessing history on Saturday when Johnson submitted Moraga, as “Mighty Mouse” now holds the record for the latest stoppage victory in the history of the UFC. That’s an amazing feat considering that the UFC has staged thousands of bouts over the years, and it’s even more amazing when you consider that the flyweights aren’t known for finishing their opponents. The fight was a testament to Johnson’s will and determination to look for the finish for the full 25 minutes, the mark of a true champion.

2. UFC 117: Anderson Silva def. Chael Sonnen via submission (triangle armbar), 3:10 of round five

(Photo via MMAWeekly)

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The 9 Kinds of Knockouts You See in MMA Fights


(#10: The failed troll-attempt knockout. / Photo via Getty)

By BG, cross-posted from Break.com

All knockouts are basically the same — a fighter gets his brain turned off and then gravity takes over. But when you’ve been watching MMA as long as we have, you begin to notice patterns. So here’s a guide to nine notable sub-species of KO, ranging from frighteningly violent to kind of hilarious. Enjoy, and let us know if we’ve left out any of your favorites…

The First-Punch Knockout

This one’s pretty self-explanatory. When you end a fight with the first punch you throw, it either means you’re a total badass, or you had a little help from your opponent. (See also: The First-Kick Knockout)

The Falling Tree Knockout

The knockout-victim stiffens up on his feet and falls to earth as slowly and deliberately as a mighty redwood. Bonus points if you can punch the guy a few more times on the way down. (See also: Barboza vs. Etim, Mercer vs. Sylvia)

To see the rest of the list — including the lawn-chair KO, the dive-bomb KO, and the cheap-shot KO — click here to continue reading this post on Break.com!

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Like a Boss: Reliving Eight of the Greatest Walk-Off Submissions in MMA History


(“All right, boys, break it up.” Photo via Sherdog.) 

Josh Burkman’s incredible and somewhat controversial (MAZZAGATTI!!) walk-off submission of the nearly-unsubmittable Jon Fitch at WSOF 3 (video here) may be old news by this point, but it’s been keeping us up nights here at CagePotato ever since. Not because of how shocking or unpredictable it was, but because we couldn’t honestly recall the last time we saw a fighter act as judge, jury, executioner and medieval corpse disposer during his own fight.

The walk-off knockout, while equally entertaining and respectable, is a lot easier to come by based on its definition alone. The walk-off submission, however, is an entirely different beast, so let’s take a look back at eight classic examples of this phenomenon (in no particular order) to honor those who were actually able to pull it off. Enjoy.

Royce Gracie vs. Art Jimmerson – UFC 1

Ah yes, the very first walk-off submission in UFC History. In every sense of the word.

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